Do Not Drag Army into Politics, PDP Warns COAS Buratai
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, not to drag the military into politics.
The party gave the warning in a statement issued to newsmen by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan.
The statement read, “General Buratai is counseled to note that the loyalty of the military is to the state and that the President lacks the powers, under our laws, to deploy soldiers for the conduct of elections.
“The PDP states that Atiku Abubakar spoke on the side of the law and wishes of Nigerians and cannot be intimidated by any body no matter how highly placed.
“Our party urges General Buratai to concentrate on his very demanding assignment of protecting the territorial integrity of our nation and ending insurgency rather than dabbling into partisan politics at the risk of our national cohesion.
“It is imperative to state that by trying to drag the military to participate in the February 23 Presidential elections, President Buhari plots to suspend our constitution, assume the position of an emperor, trigger unrest, subvert our electoral process and derail our democracy.
“The party directs President Buhari to the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos on March 23, 2015, wherein the court, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba, directly outlawed the deployment of troops in the conduct of elections in our country.
“President Buhari should also avail himself of the subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal, which on February 15, 2015, held that the President has no powers to deploy soldiers in the conduct of elections.
“The PDP further counsels President Buhari and General Buratai to end their rationalizing of military option, as the courts have summarily dismissed their arguments that soldiers are needed to guarantee peaceful elections.” The statement continued:
“It may interest President Buhari to know that the judgment was sequel to a suit filed by the APC Leader in the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, seeking a declaration that deployment of soldiers during elections is illegal and unconstitutional.
“In case, President Buhari is not aware, as usual, the court directly held that “the Armed Forces have no role in elections” and if soldiers must vote, they must do so in their barracks.
Mr Ologbondiyan stressed the need not to corrupt the patriotism of the military and use them against innocent Nigerians, “whose only demand is for a free, fair and credible election”.